The American Automobile Association is out with some scary statistics. According to new research, the AAA says more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths in 2016 - the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase since 2009.
Researchers also examined common characteristics of hit-and-run crashes and found that:
- An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.
- Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
- Per capita, New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rates.
“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem.”
The AAA also reminded that every state, including New York, has laws that make it illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee the scene.
“It is every driver’s legal and moral responsibility to take necessary precautions to avoid hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist or another vehicle,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations. “While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers - whether they caused the crash or not.”